December 11, 2012

Hanukkah Hotties.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:41 pm

Our very cool Jooish pal, The Jersey Nut, is again posting “Hanukkah Hotties.” As you may have guessed, it is a celebration of beautiful Jooish women, one for each night of the Festival of Lights. You may be late to the game, so I’ll help you catch up:

Hanukkah Hottie No. 1

Hanukkah Hottie No. 2

Hanukkah Hottie No. 3

Hanukkah Hottie No. 4

Bookmark the site, and return for the remaining four.

Maybe I can convince him to do the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Oh, and when not posting Hanukkah Hotties, the Jersey Nut does some gorilla-stompin’ writing. Be sure to check it out.

December 9, 2012

Big Brother is Getting Bigger.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 7:58 pm

William Binney, a former mathematician and code breaker for the National Security Agency, stated in an in interview that the federal government is currently collecting and storing virtually everyone’s e-mails (yes, everyone’s, including, yours, mine, his, and those of members of Congress). The data are apparently being “parked” in raw form in various facilities for retrieval by the government when it chooses to do so (presumably, after a proper showing of probable cause). The amount of data that can be stored and retrieved is staggering, so much so that the government is spending $2 billion to build another facility to store it all.

I was aware that the NSA had the means to use sophisticated algorithms to sift through e-mails between the United States and foreign countries to search for key words in order to track down potential terrorist activity, discarding the e-mails not containing such key words. While this practice is, in itself, legally dicey, the stated goal of preventing a horrible attack on the U.S. justifies the risk it poses to individual privacy. That being said, collecting and storing every American citizen’s emails for future retrieval if and when the government feels that such retrieval is warranted, is a potential bludgeon to our First and Fourth Amendment Rights under the U.S. Constitution.

Presumably, the government would argue that as long as the collected information is not accessed without probable cause and a warrant is obtained, no harm, no foul. While that may be true in terms of accessing the stored information, the issue of the constitutionality of its collection and storage turns on whether one has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of an e-mail, a fact-sensitive question more simple to ask than to answer.

The only protections Americans have against an over intrusive government, or, at worst, a truly malevolent government, are the Constitution’s dictates of a separation of powers, the Constitution’s Bill of Rights and the courts. What is most frightening is that the current regime cares little about the separation of powers and regularly bypasses congress via executive orders. As for the Constitution – hey, it’s “living and breathing” – it can mean whatever the polls say it ought to mean.

This issue is something that should concern every American, political affiliation aside. Elections, after all, do have consequences, and executive power does change hands.

Here is the link to the interview transcript and background information, with additional information here.

December 8, 2012

To My Jooish Pals…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:17 pm

Best wishes for a Happy Hanukkah from the House by the Parkway.

December 7, 2012

Lest We Forget.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:10 pm

I wonder how the nation would react today. I wish I didn’t have to wonder.

December 5, 2012

More on Mononymous Persons.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:58 pm

In the previous post I stated, “I’m trying to think of a singer who uses only one name who either doesn’t stink or isn’t an asshole.” I cited Cher, Sting, Bono and Beyonoce as examples. A couple commenters asked, what about Dion? Elvis? Excellent observations, which serve to demonstrate that my theory is far from watertight, as neither Dion nor Elvis stink – far from it. I am a fan of both.

Having conceded that my theory may itself stink up the room a bit, it is interesting to note that “Dion” may well trace his mononym to originally having performed with the group, the Belmonts, collectively known as “Dion and the Belmonts.” I’m guessing that record producers didn’t think that “Dion DiMucci and the Belmonts” rolled off the tongue as easily as “Dion and the Belmonts.” Anyway, once the group split, it made sense for Dion to remain simply “Dion.”

As for Elvis, I am old enough to remember when Elvis Presley first appeared on TV on a program called “Stage Show,” hosted by big banders, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. (Yes, this was before he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show.) He wasn’t billed as “Elvis” back then, but rather as “Elvis Presley.” Only when the country went positively nuts over him, and some news types referred to him as “Elvis the Pelvis,” people began to drop the “Presley” part of his name. I suppose having a rather unusual first name helped that process along.

So, Elvis seems to fall into the category of persons originally using a first and last name, but becoming one-namers by the sheer force of fame. Frank Sinatra comes to mind. He is known simply as “Sinatra” (at least in New Jersey). Oprah (ugh) also falls into this category.

Am I over-thinking this? Why, yes; I believe I am.

Oh … one more thing, and then I’ll stop. I promise. In the category of one-named singers who stink or are an asshole, how could I have forgotten Madonna? Major stinkeroo and assholery right there.

December 2, 2012

Pop Culturally Challenged.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 4:46 pm

With each passing day, it becomes more obvious to me that I am hopelessly out of the pop culture loop. For example, up until a week or so ago I had never heard of Chris Brown, Jenny Johnson or someone named “Rihanna.” Having spent a few minutes wading around in the nonsense surrounding a Twitter Feud (I can’t believe I just typed the words “Twitter Feud”), and even fewer minutes listening to the “music” of the person named “Rihanna,” I’m O.K. with not getting the pop culture memos.

Speaking of the person who calls herself “Rihanna,” I’m trying to think of a singer who uses only one name who either doesn’t stink or isn’t an asshole. Let’s see … there are Cher, Sting, Bono and Beyonoce … all assholes who take themselves way too seriously. Oh, and there is “Slash,” the big-haired, top hat wearing guitar player from Guns N’ Roses. I guess I don’t know whether he’s an asshole, and, besides, his real name is Saul Hudson. I just don’t think he would have made it as big calling himself simply “Saul.” I did get a kick out of Liberace, though.

While we’re on the subject of pop culture, I don’t get the fascination today with vampires and zombies. There seems to be a clutch of television shows and movies about blood sucking humans and previously dead people staggering about looking for brains to eat. I also hear people talking about the “Zombie Apocalypse.” What the hell is that? Should I invest in a security system?

For me, the vampire thing began and ended with Bela Lugosi, and “The Night of the Living Dead” said all that needed to be said about zombies (and, frankly, scared the dogshit out of me).

For my part, I’ve been busy trying to figure out whether ancient aliens did made those high-tech stone cuttings in those stones that weigh about a gazillion tons that are in places with names that all sound like Pitchoo Patchoo, or Moochoo Choochoo. I don’t need no stinkin’ zombies.

Oh, one more thing — about the image of the Ten Ball at the beginning of this post. November 27th came and went without incident around here at the House by the Parkway (another day of non-posting). Only today did I remember that I began this blog exercise on that date ten years ago. So, that’s the story on the Ten Ball.

November 24, 2012

Two Rices, One Dessert. (Updated)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 5:14 pm

Waiter: Good afternoon. What can I get for you ma’am?

Condi: I’d like some ice cream. What flavors do you have?

Waiter: We have vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana and coffee.

Condi: I’d like a scoop of the vanilla, please.

Waiter: Would you like some whipped cream on that?

Condi: That sounds great.

Waiter: How about a cherry on top?

Condi: Excellent; thanks.

Waiter: Good afternoon. What can I get for you ma’am?

Susan: I’d like some ice cream. What flavors do you have?

Waiter: We have vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana and coffee.

Susan: Racist!

Waiter: Excuse me? What in heaven’s name are you talking about?

Susan: You know damned well what I’m talking about. You listed the vanilla ice cream, the white ice cream, before the ice creams of color!

Waiter: (Sigh) Whatever you say, ma’am. What flavor would you like?

Susan: Chocolate, of course.

Waiter: Would you like some whipped cream on that?

Susan: There you go again! Are you a KKK member, or something?

Waiter: I only asked you if you wanted whipped cream on your ice cream.

Susan: Code! You’re using racist code words! You think I don’t understand what you mean by “whipped?” You’re making a reference to beating slaves, and you know it. I damned sure know it!

Waiter: Ma’am, I assure you that I meant nothing of the kind. I was merely referring to a dessert topping. Speaking of which, would you like a cherry on top?

Susan: That does it! Another dog whistle, racist code word right there. “Cherry?” That’s a code word suggesting sexually promiscuity? You’re saying that black women are sexually promiscuous. You wouldn’t dare say that to a white woman.

Waiter: Ma’am, I’m afraid that I’m going to have to ask you to leave.

Susan: I’m not leaving until I speak with the manager about his hiring of rabid racists. Call your manager over here right now!

Waiter: I own the business, and, another thing. I built it myself.

Susan: You know what your problem is? Your problem is that you hate women of color.

Waiter: No. My problem is that I hate women of assholery. Now leave!

UPDATE: As a public service, we at the House by the Parkway are pleased to provide you with a Politically Correct Guide to Racism for Idiots. (via Doug Ross)

November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving, 2012.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:33 pm

A Happy Thanksgiving from the House by the Parkway.

Despite the current state of affairs in the country, when I look at the big picture, it is clear that I have much to be thankful for. I have been both humbled and inspired by the backbone, grit and optimism of fellow Garden Staters whose homes were swept into the sea a couple weeks ago. They are cleaning up the mess and beginning the rebuilding process. When asked about how they are coping with such a massive loss, they say that they are happy to be alive and to be with their families.

Yes, I do have a good deal to be thankful for.

November 19, 2012

What Now?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 9:36 pm

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for eleven days, as what I write here makes any difference in the big picture, or even the smallest of pictures, for that matter. The reason is that I was and still am in a state of mourning over the November 6th beginning of the end of the Republic. I admit that I was profoundly wrong about how the election would turn out. The polls be damned: I was convinced that the electorate has not become so screwed up that it would give another four years to a guy whose record, by any reasonable measure, has been one of colossal failure.

Yes, I was indeed wrong. I never thought that Americans would vote for this country to become a European-style socialist/welfare state, but that’s exactly what happened. Hell, today I read that, according to some damned exit poll, that, four years into the Obama administration, voters still blamed George Bush for the lousy economy (Well played, Barry), and, even worse, “young people” preferred socialism over capitalism, demonstrating that they could use a bit more time in the library (Well played, public education system).

To those who voted for the end of the Republic, please do me a favor. When you see businesses shrink or close and the economy crater under the weight of a gargantuan federal government spending truckloads of money it doesn’t have on “investments” bullshit programs to buy votes, when you see just how expensive “free” healthcare is, or when The One bypasses Congress and issues Executive Orders you may not like, don’t complain to me. If you do, I will tell you to talk to the hand. Or, maybe talk to the middle finger.

As for the future of this blog, I haven’t decided. There are already numerous blogs that tackle politics, and they do it better than I can. Besides, I am fresh out of patience for maroons who would eventually show up in comments screaming “Hater! Racist!” Maybe some political satire? Truth is, I don’t find anything about the current state of affairs to be even remotely funny.

Hey, maybe I’ll post pictures of my cats, except that I don’t have any cats.

I’ll have to think on it all.


November 8, 2012

Four More Years ………..

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 1:57 am

I am still trying to collect my thoughts, none of them good at the moment.

It’s only a matter of time before the people who voted to re-elect this man are negatively impacted (or their children or grandchildren are negatively impacted) by their decision. At some point, the well will run dry, and the piper will still have to be paid.

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